Fabulous Foliage


When I first started gardening, 20 odd years ago, colorful blooms were my main objective for the garden.  But as time went by I found myself  looking for texture, shape, and color.   Foliage combinations can create interest long after the blooms have faded.  Here are some the shades of green, blue, gold & burgundy that I find attractive on their own.  Some of my favorite plants in the garden have flowers that are an afterthought at best.  (for example Heuceras and Hostas)  Their foliage whether bold or delicate  provide a nice backdrop for the bright colored blooms all around them.   If the foliage changes color as the season progresses into another, that’s another bonus to me.   As you can see it was raining this morning when I took these shots.  That’s another benefit, who doesn’t love the look of water drops on foliage?!  It always just amazes me to see how the tiny droplets cling to the leaves after a rain.  What are some of your favorite foliage combinations for the garden?


17 responses to this post.

  1. I too love water droplets on foliage–especially on lady’s mantle and purple smoke bush. Coral bells are one of my favorite plants, full stop! 🙂

    Oh yeah raindrops look fabulous on Lady’s Mantle! Yep I love Coral bells too, they have so many great colors now. 🙂


  2. I love looking at textures of foliage and it is so important when designing, but I have to admit-the blooms still do it for me the most.

    Combining different shapes, textures & colors of foliage is my favorite thing to do. 🙂 I still love the blooms too I must admit!


  3. Everything looks so fresh and healthy! Nice collage!

    Thank you Tatyana! 🙂


  4. I love seeing the different foliage plants growing in my garden. I only have a couple things that stay green all year and those are the privet hedge, camellias and azaleas. Everything else dies in the winter. I am always going to plant more evergreen plants but I just can’t seem to get that done! I do enjoy my perennials when they bloom though(-:

    There are evergreen perennials in my garden such as Candytuft, Penstemon, Bugleweed, and Autumn Sage in my garden as well. This year I added my Camelia which will give me some much needed blooms in January (which is a slow month here).


  5. My brain still hasn’t engaged today Racquel so I’m drawing a blank on my favorite foliage combinations. I’m sure it must be because there are too many to choose from! You’ve picked some good ones and lucky you having rain in the garden!

    It is hard to choose isn’t it, when their so many wonderful choices. Thanks Kathleen!


  6. I love most hosta foliage even tho I have none growing. Also I love coleus. There are so many to chose from and they add such pretty colors. Too bad they are annuals.

    Coleus & Hosta are wonderful selections Susie! The nice thing about Coleus are they are so easy to root & keep from year to year.


  7. I couldn’t begin to tell you the foliage colors, shape and textures that I am learning to love!

    You have become addicted to the gardening bug very quickly Darla! 🙂


  8. I agree with you on the importance of foliage. Even with blooms, I try to select perennials that have nice foliage after the flowers fade.


    The foliage does help fill in before & after the blooms have faded that’s for sure. I love interesting foliage because it can really help keep the garden interesting almost year round. 🙂


  9. I really like having a variety of foliage in the garden. Sure makes it interesting when things are quite ready to bloom.

    It really does keep the garden looking good by planting with foliage color, texture, & leaf size in mind. Thanks Janet! 🙂


  10. Hi Racquel, How are you? The leaves are lovely. I like to combine purple, red and green foliages together so that my garden will look colourful even without flowers.

    I’m fine Stephanie, how about you? 🙂 Thanks, sounds like we have similar tastes in foliage combinations. They really do keep the garden colorful between the blooms.


  11. Lovely images Racquel, and I am with you on the foliage, its so important.

    Thank you Karen! 🙂 It really does make the garden a tapestry of texture, color & interest.


  12. Loved the pictures Racquel–especially with the rain drops. Wonder what it is that makes us love to see that?
    I guess my favorite foliage combinations are the reds of coleus with the lime green of sweet potato vine. Can’t wait to plant the wheelbarrow with those this year.

    Thanks Linda. I think it is the miraculous way the raindrops cling to the leaves & emphasize the veining? Just a guess. 😉 That is a striking combo for your wheelbarrow. Red & Green are on opposite sides of the colorwheel, they really compliment each other perfectly.


  13. Hi Racquel, isn’t it amazing how we evolve as gardeners? My offspring are so into flowers only, trying to teach them the beauty of foliage is beginning to show results. It is so much longer lasting and affects the overall look of every garden much more than flowers. My favorite combinations? Heucheras and everything! Finally figured out that the H. villosas are what grow well here, they can take the heat and dry so much better. That is after spending mucho dinero on heucheras that died within weeks of being planted here. I love the reds, blues and yellows all mixed up, forget the flowers!

    Yes it is Frances! I’ve learned so much over the years by reading, watching & now blogging. I’m sure your offspring will come to realize the importance of foliage the way we did. 🙂 I plant now for foliage combinations as well as flower color. You have great taste, the Heucera is my all time favorite foliage plant, the flowers are nothing special, but the leaves are amazing with their veining & color. I’ve had some success with my full sun Heuceras by giving them part shade since our summers are so hot & humid. Most plants that are full sun up north do better with just morning sun here in VA.


  14. Racquel .. isn’t it amazing how we evolve as gardeners each year ? I too was all about the flowers a few years ago .. then I was lucky to have the light go on and fell in love with foliage as well. All of it amazes me really .. the rain drop scenario is a wonderful subject for pictures .. My Royal Purple Smoketree along with Golden Spirit that is close to it .. well they are beauties to catch the drops on : )

    It really is, I even surpassed my mentor (grandma). My curiousity took it to the next level. 🙂 I bet your Smoketree & Golden Spirit are gorgeous when they are covered in raindrops.


  15. What a pretty post. It was very nicely done and all the pictures you used were beautiful. I love the way the textures of the leaves contrast with each other and the colors were nicely put together. Well Done.

    Thank you Debbie! I’m glad you enjoyed my post about foliage. 🙂


  16. Considering how short bloom times are for so many perennials means foliage is too important to ignore. A well planned flower garden has to take contrasting foliage shapes and colors to heart or you may end up with a weedy looking bed. And don’t forget to throw in some boulders 🙂

    It really does extend the season of interest before & after bloom cycles. And thanks for reminding me about adding a few “boulders”, lol 🙂


  17. Reminds me of me Racquel – I used to be all about the blooms until moving here. With all our shade, interesting colorful foliage has become the mainstay here. You’ve got some wonderful examples of beautiful foliage!

    It’s interesting that shade can help a gardener learn to rely on colorful foliage & texture during the prime season. Thanks Linda! 🙂


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